The Best Tools And Resources To Grow Your Blog

Learning how to start a blog is easy (as I outlined step-by-step), but the key is to find those apps, tools, products that help keep you working smarter, not harder.  These blogging resources are all ones I use or have used in the past and would recommend! One way or another – this list of the best tools and resources to grow your blog will save you time (and we all know time as a business owner or blogger is crucial!)

The Best Tools And Resources To Grow Your Blog

Images:

Canva – your design center! This online tool helps me with everything design wise for my blog.  I create my blog photos with text, social media photos, and all worksheets with canva.  You can even create your own invitations, recipe cards, banners, newsletters! You can even upload your own fonts into the program. I use this daily and it definitely is a staple in my business. 

Picmonkey – This is another design tool I have used to edit photos with. It’s free and easy to navigate around. 

Unsplash – I have and use some stock photos on my website/social media platform.  This is a free stock photo website chuck full of every type of photo you could think of.  Whether you blog about travel, food, design, fashion, or business there is a wide array of photos waiting for you there!

Creative Market –  Fonts, mockups, design elements … It’s dangerous! A one stop shop for creative entrepreneurs.  They even have freebies every week (It’s like Christmas every Monday!)

Dropbox – I’m constantly taking and storing photos for my blog and business and Dropbox is a great way to store and share photos with others you are collaborating with.  It is free up until 2GB of space.  I pay $8/month and it is SO worth having that extra space.

Marble Contact Paper – I wanted to find a section in this blog post to mention this contact paper, because it is super cheap and I use this all of the time.  Building a blog and business it is crucial to take photos to match and fit your brand. I use marble backdrops in a lot of photos and this contact paper is easy to use and easy to clean if it gets dirty at all! I photograph food quite frequently and it has yet to show any signs of spillage. You can’t beat $8 for this roll of marble contact paper!

Phone Lens – I love my wide angle lens – perfect for capturing those landscapes or interiors that are too big for the function of your phone’s camera. I have this bundle of lens for $9.99 and couldn’t be happier with the purchase.

 

Productivity:

Asana – I’ve tried many different productivity tools and nothing seems to work……BUT Asana. I love making lists and checking them off just like the next person.  I also find it to be the best resource for collaborating with team members and others you are communicating with. Quite frankly, I didn’t like how the other platforms were set up – and this was WAY easier to navigate.  That was my big thing when learning a new program is that I wanted something I didn’t have to spend hours learning what and where to look for certain functions. Here is your answer!!

Blog Planner – After a few years of blogging I finally feel like I have a great system in place to organize my thoughts, to-do’s and social shares I need to stay on top of weekly.  Download my FREE blog planner printable. PS – it even has a spot to keep track of your blog analytics. (Score!)

 

Themes:

StudioPress (Genesis) – One of the all time most popular and extremely powerful frameworks for WordPress. I currently use on my own blog. One of the best features is being able to utilize plugins to make your blog look exactly the way you want!  I would highly recommend for your WordPress blog.

Restored 316 – These are the most beautiful themes I have come across.  I have set up some blogs before using these themes and they turned out dreamy.  So many beautiful ones to choose from!

Theme Forest – Theme Forest has a wide array of blog themes.  The theme I use now is called the Florence theme.  I love the functionality and sleek design of it.  Of course, they have a theme to fit everyoneโ€™s personality.

 

Hosting:

IPage – The task of finding one of the best web hosting providers can be quite daunting as there are hundreds of web hosts out there, all claiming to be the best. Sure, there are a number of decent service providers out there but after due diligence and careful research, I decided to go with IPage, which is also the web host for my other websites. Aside from the reliable and stellar service, I specifically chose IPage for the following reasons:

  • IPage offers free installation for all major blogging platforms, including WordPress.
  • WordPress, the worldโ€™s most popular blogging platform highly recommends IPage since 2005.
  • IPage is widely considered an industry leader in web hosting services, providing exceptional 24/7 support, which is made available via email, phone and web chat.
  • IPage also offers a 30 day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the services for whatever reason.

 

Social Media & Scheduling:

Board Booster – The most amazing pinterest tool out there. My followers and clicks back to my blog have grown dramatically since starting. I spend less time on Pinterest now than I did before.

Hootsuite – HootSuite is a social media management platform that allows you to track all of your social media accounts on one main dashboard. There are over 35 recognized social media platforms that can merge with HootSuite. Once all of your accounts are connected, you can schedule posts, respond to mentions, see who is saying what across all of your feeds, and create lists of the people you want to monitor closely.  At $8.99/month HootSuite is well worth your money as you build and engage your social audience!

Later (formally known as Latergramme) – Later allows you to plan and schedule your Instagram photo publishing through an app on your phone or through a browser on your computer.

  • Easily plan & schedule your Instagram posts
  • Upload images from the web or phone
  • Management from the web app or mobile app
  • Get scheduled images pushed to your phone

 

Website Tools & Apps:

Active Campaign – I use Active Campaign to capture subscribers from my blog. It’s great to use and easy to navigate around.  There are great features to set up multiple lists, add automation emails, create forms, and more. The pricing is cheaper than most as well – which is always a plus! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Google Calendar – I’ve tried so many different ways of keeping my life in line.  AND not just mine by having it be visible to my husband as well.  Google Calendar is great because it allows us to share our schedules with each other AND integrates with gmail. It’s a dream when tools are synced together. 

Google Drive – This tool enables you to share, edit and comment on documents, presentations and forms from anywhere.  It’s easy to access and they even have a great phone app as well so it’s all right there when I need documents on the go. It’s also easy to share information with others you are collaborating with.

Google Analytics – Being able to track your audience on your webpage is SO important.  Google Analytics is absolutely free as well.  It can show you: who visits your website (geographic location, which browser they used, what language they speak, etc.), what they do when they get to your website, where they arrive on your website from, how the user interacts while on your website, and much more.

Afterlight – My all time favorite image editing app via mobile. It has amazing filters (if wanted) and does a great job of editing images slightly with more contrast, brightness, or even if you need to crop or rotate your photo.

Gmail – SO many reasons to jump on the gmail bandwagon.  You automatically get signed up with a google account which allows you access to every google service out there. You get unlimited number of custom email addresses, the ability to organize your email with labels and filters, and you can also add in photos to your signatures.  All these perks and more!

Instapage – I create all landing pages via Instapage. The drag and drop feature is easy to use and I can create the page in minutes! They have optimized templates available to use and ready to go at your fingertips.

WordPress Plugins

A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites.  In the WordPress community, there is a saying that goes around: โ€œthereโ€™s a plugin for thatโ€. haha.  They make it super simple for users to add features to their website without knowing a single line of code. There are tons available to download – but how do you know which ones are the best and work the best for your blog?

You can find all of my favorite WordPress plugins – HERE!

 

Technology & Office Necessities:

Monitor – Being able to have both my laptop and monitor open at the same time with different browsers open is a definite game changer. 

Wireless Keyboard (Silver) – Everything wireless, please. Oh – and silver/white! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Wireless Printer – Great quality printing and is also wireless.  I said goodbye to all of those pesky cords always in the way!  And it looks a lot cleaner as well!

Wireless Mouse – A white mouse that’s wireless? I’m in.

White & Gold Desk Lamp – Adding some extra lighting to my office space was a great idea and use it quite often when working those long nights! 

 

You’ve reached the end of the list- whew! Hopefully you found one thing…or a couple of things that will help you in the blogging/business field.

If you’ve got any blogging or business resources that have changed your life that aren’t included on this list, feel free to drop me a line below in the comments. Is there a resource on this list that is your favorite?

(p.s. Be sure to check out this post for a step-by-step guide on starting your own blog – It might seem like rocket science, but trust me it’s a piece of cake! I’ll walk you through all of it!)

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE WEEKLY BLOG PLANNER!

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77 Comments

  • Reply kandypants September 14, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    These are amazing resources!! Thanks so much for this list. I discovered some new ones that I’m going to start using ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Sara September 14, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    This is such a great overview post! Bloggers-must-read ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply thelifestylelady September 14, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    This is an amazing post. I have bookmarked so I can take more time to got through it thoroughly. I have ordered the paper and I use many of the items you recommend. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Helene Cohen Bludman September 14, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    These are such great resources, thank you! I’ll look forward to reading your post on plugins.

  • Reply Nellwyn Lampert (@cardinalpress) September 14, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    I love Canva, Hootsuite, and Tailwind. All three have helped me improve my blog so much!

  • Reply Alix Maza (@apintsizedlife) September 14, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I’ve been putting off getting marble contact paper for a while now, I don’t know why lol. Just got the hang of BoardBooster and IT IS AMAZING!

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlife.com

  • Reply Jen Smith September 14, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Great tips! I just started blogging so a lot of these are new for me. Thanks!

  • Reply Chei September 14, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    these are amazing resources! Thanks for sharing it’s a big help.

  • Reply Emma | Creative Explorations September 14, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks for this great list — a lot of these I still have yet to explore. However, Canva is a lifesaver, as are Buffer and Hootsuite. I also love Trello for planning and organization.

    Emma | http://www.creativexplorations.com

  • Reply Kathy September 14, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    This is a great post. A lot of great information here. I’m sure we can all use some help on growing our blogs. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly September 14, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    I use Hootsuite and love it for pictures I use Ribbet. And a strong computer is a must as I run three different businesses – blogging is one of the three! ๐Ÿ™‚ Being a #ProBlogger Rules!

  • Reply Jenny September 15, 2016 at 1:33 am

    These are super awesome tips, and most i havent even heard of. Im ready to dive in!

  • Reply Laura September 15, 2016 at 4:31 am

    I feel like I am across a lot of these things, but I just couldn’t get on the hoot suite bandwagon. I didn’t find it easier, particularly for instagram where I wanted to know the size of the hashtags I was using without having to go into insta to check. How does it save you time?

  • Reply GiGi Eats Celebrities September 15, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I was waiting for a website called LATER to come along that would schedule posts – I mean, LATER is the best name for a site like that! LOL

  • Reply Nicole Etolen September 15, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Wow, this post is very wonderful. I will share this with my fellow bloggers.

  • Reply jesusglitter September 15, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Thank You for sharing great information! I can’t wait to try some of these and I love the marble contact paper idea! I use Co-Schedule and I love how it works and they have a great support team!

  • Reply Lynndee September 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for this! I’m already using some of those website tools, but I’m definitely going to check the other ones that I’m not using yet.

  • Reply Yandralasssource@gmail.com September 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Amazing list! I use some of them already and I truly don’t know what I would do with out them. Some of them are new to me and I will definitely be checking them out to see how they work for me.

  • Reply Robbie September 15, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Such a wonderful and comprehensive list! I will definitely be checking some of these out (like the blog planner). Thank you so much for making this all in one link post

  • Reply CourtneyLynne September 15, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    What great tips! The right images can really make a difference! It took me a while to figure that out but once I did bam! Blog has never been better

  • Reply Shearly Reyes September 15, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I love this list and how thorough it is! Great tips!

  • Reply ohsicasy September 16, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Thank you for sharing!! ๐Ÿ˜€
    I’m actually use a few of those now hehe

  • Reply ohnikkashae September 16, 2016 at 10:34 am

    You have great tips on organizing your blog! I’ve used some of your tips and I’ve been very successful with it.

  • Reply Andrea@WellnessNotes September 16, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Great resources! Thanks for sharing it all in one place!

  • Reply Sasha September 16, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    This is full of great ideas and info! Thanks for sharing this!!!

  • Reply Ryan Escat September 16, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    I am not into blogging but my wife is. I will share this to her, she will surely love it!

  • Reply Crystal Green September 16, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    I use many of these resources. You gave me some other tools to help making my blogging life easier too. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Lisa Rios September 17, 2016 at 2:18 am

    Some great resources to get the best out of your blog which will be of great use to new bloggers. I have never heard about Unsplash and Creative Market, but sounds like something I could make good use of them!

  • Reply Thirty30Courtney (@Thirty30Court) September 17, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Awesome list! Thank you for breaking it down by category. I am bookmarking this link now.

  • Reply Stephanie Trembath September 19, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Nicole,

    Thank you so much for including Later in your roundup of tools to improve your blog and productivity! This was a really well written post, and we love hearing from our community members and getting such positive feedback on the app!

    Stephanie | Later Community Manager

  • Reply Shanรฉy Maharaj September 21, 2016 at 2:44 am

    I just bookmarked this! I’m always looking for good pictures so this post is perfect for me.

  • Reply Casey Tom September 25, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    This is all so helpful. I can’t wait to go through all these tips to learn more.

  • Reply Ayesha Heart September 29, 2016 at 1:23 am

    Awesome post! Very detailed and helpful esp for newbies. You did a good job on listing the essential ones. Keep ’em coming! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Haley Bradley (@haleysvintage) October 1, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Wow what a great list and even some new ones for me to try. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply kaylablogs October 19, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    I love to use Buffer for scheduling tweets! This is such a great and comprehensive list!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  • Reply Ari November 4, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Oooomg! Thank you SO SO much for showing me Canva! It’s going to take my pictures to a whole new level <3

  • Reply Erica November 7, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    Signing up for Later now – thanks for the resource!

  • Reply Lauren C. Moye November 12, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    I clicked on this post to browse through your list and ended up subscribed to your mailing list. I guess that’s a win for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Crystal November 13, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    I love canva too and kind of forgot about splash. You link to google analytics is broken. I was clicked cause I haven’t looked in awhile.

  • Reply Kayla Yestal November 16, 2016 at 8:05 am

    This was SO helpful! I’ll have to try Asana out asap!

  • Reply Caitlin Johnson November 16, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Wow, great list! I’m sure this will help out tons of people. I will definitely be bookmarking and sharing this <3 Also Canva is my FAVORITE!

  • Reply prettyasapeachlife November 16, 2016 at 8:56 am

    This is so, so helpful!!

  • Reply Kristin November 16, 2016 at 9:31 am

    What a great list of resources you have compiled here! Thanks so much for sharing. Just downloaded your blog planner ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Diera November 16, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Excellent list! I’m familiar with some, but the rest I definitely need to look into! Thanks.

  • Reply tayonthemove November 16, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Thank you for all these tips! I’m trying to grow my blog and these will definitely help!

  • Reply Aliza Biorn November 16, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Great tips in this post! I need to schedule my social media more often. I’m going to check out the stock photo site you mentioned too.

  • Reply mckinziebean November 16, 2016 at 11:54 am

    I love the contact paper idea! I’ve been wanting to try that for some of my stock photos.

  • Reply Stephanie moore November 16, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Such a fabeautiful list of things, I already use some but found some new ones too.

  • Reply kancell724 November 16, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Great post! I use many of the same tools. Some I hadn’t heard of and need to check out now. Love finding new tools for my blog.

  • Reply Brittany Ferrell November 16, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    What wonderful tips! I want to try so many of these, but I think I will start with checking out Creative Market and Hootsuite! You sparked my interest!

  • Reply Rada Francis November 18, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Lots of great resources! Thanks for sharing. I also use Freepik which offers free images even vectors but a free account must add a source.

  • Reply themrick December 9, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I love this! There’s so much to learn when you’re starting out that it’s really nice to have everything condensed into one article.

  • Reply kimijo December 9, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Boardbooster has helped me tremendously. This is a great list of resources, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Rahela @ Smart Biz Coaching December 9, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Hey, this is very detailed. Thanx for sharing. i am Business Strategist and I use many of tools that you mentioned above. They make my life so much easier.

    Rahela

  • Reply Melinda Pollard December 9, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    This is an amazing list!!! I use a lot of these ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply The Cappuccino Traveler January 24, 2017 at 7:34 am

    SUPER helpful- Thanks!!!!

  • Reply Saprina Danise (@SaprinaD) January 24, 2017 at 7:39 am

    This a great roundup of resources. Absolutely booking marking it for references.

  • Reply HappyFamily January 24, 2017 at 9:58 am

    What a great resource. Thank you!

  • Reply Jessica Schneider January 24, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    This I should all great advice! So far, I’ve been using canva for all my graphics, and I use Typorama on my phone for Instagram graphics. It definitely has it’s limitations, but it does the job for the moment.

  • Reply FocusedTravels January 25, 2017 at 1:47 am

    I love resource lists! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Brit Strawbridge February 7, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Wow! What a great list! I probably only use 20% of what you listed, but going to take some time to look into all the others! Thanks for sharing! Definitely pinning this!

  • Reply Fiona February 7, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Fantastic list of tips here! Will definitely checking out some of the themes you mentioned, I have been looking to update my blog theme for a while.

  • Reply maryjane February 7, 2017 at 9:50 am

    This is THE list of resources! I just checked out Creative Market…and it’s amazing! I’m now looking forward to Mondays ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply Jessica Jade February 7, 2017 at 10:11 am

    My goal this year is to create a blog planner [AND STICK TO IT]! Whenever I do plan to disseminate, write, create posts via canva or shoot images for a blog post it goes SO smoothly. But my issue is actually creating a schedule and sticking to it. I just began blogging and hope that with time I master this.

  • Reply Melissa Gibson February 7, 2017 at 10:19 am

    While I don’t use WordPress for my blog, your article has some great tips for me to consider. Thanks for an informative article.

  • Reply Jenn @ The Art of Better February 7, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Great list! Creative Market is probably my favorite resource for all things gorgeous! I haven’t tried asana yet but it’s on my to do list!

  • Reply chavamazal February 7, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Great list. I’ll definitely check out a few of these resources for my blog. – Eve ‘Chava Mazal’

  • Reply jentheodore February 7, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Great resources! I need to get a roll of that contact paper, it’s perfect!

  • Reply Kseniya Gershberg February 7, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Wow this is amazing and very well organized! I will look into everything. Canva is my favorite and is fun to use!

  • Reply Gennifer Rose February 7, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    I use many of these tools, they are so helpful! Dropbox and Later are a must for me, they help keep my images organized and Instagram on schedule. Thanks!

    Gennifer Rose | http://www.GenniferRose.com

  • Reply Jenny February 7, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    So many awesome tools here! I use a lot of them myself.

  • Reply Emily February 7, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    This is AWESOME….so great for a newbie!!! I can’t wait to check out so many on this list in more detail! So helpful ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Cristina February 8, 2017 at 3:28 am

    Really nice recommendations!
    For Instagram I use Gramblr. It allows me to post pictures straight from my computer (I don’t take my pics with my phone and I have to edit them) and also to schedule them.

  • Reply Ashlee February 8, 2017 at 6:50 am

    What a great list!! I’ll def be checking out unsplash and I’ve downloaded Google calendar but have to use it! I need to get it together lol

  • Reply Justin Imel February 8, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Thank you so much for this! I need to use these tools far more often than I do. Sometimes I think simply putting up a blog post is enough to generate traffic.

  • Reply Shane February 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Such a comprehensive list! Very helpful for newbies and pros alike!

  • Reply Brittany Marie, Financial Mindset Coach February 11, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    This is an amazing list! There were quite a few I didn’t know! Thank you for schooling me ๐Ÿ™‚

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